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Pacific Island Anglicans in New Zealand Celebrate

Pacific Island Anglicans in New Zealand Celebrate

Pacific Islanders gathered at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell last night (Sunday, April 17) to celebrate their first locally-based Anglican bishop.

Right Reverend Dr Winston Halapua, who was born in Tonga, but a Fiji citizen, has been installed as the first Bishop for the Diocese of Polynesia in New Zealand.

He was inducted by Bishop Jabez Bryce, the Suva-based Diocesan Bishop of Polynesia, supported by a number of local Anglican bishops – and welcomed by a congregation of about 500, many of whom were decked out in traditional Polynesian finery.

Dr Halapua, who was one of three men consecrated in Suva's cathedral the previous Sunday as new bishops for the Diocese of Polynesia, entered the Parnell cathedral to the sound of Fijian drumming and the blowing of a conch shell.

The congregation sang hymns and choruses accompanied by a 100 strong choir and a band, children danced in the aisles, and everyone rose to applaud Bishop Halapua when Bishop Bryce asked for their verdict on the new appointment.

The service ended with a mass song and dance performance by dozens of young Pacific Island New Zealanders, followed by a feast.

Among his other responsibilities, Rt Rev Dr Halapua looks forward to "taking part in a journey of a group of people – the Polynesians born in New Zealand - who are exploring their identity."

That shouldn't be, he says, about forging a stand-alone identity. It should be about contributing particular riches to the development of Aotearoa New Zealand, honouring the Treaty of Waitangi - and it should be grounded in an understanding of Christ.

Rt Rev Dr Halapua will continue as the principal of the college of the Diocese of Polynesia at St John's College in Meadowbank, and as a lecturer in the School of Theology at the University of Auckland.

ends

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia comprises three equal cultural strands – Tikanga Maori, Tikanga Pakeha and Tikanga Polynesia. The Anglican Diocese of Polynesia serves Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, and Pacific Islanders living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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